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What Does a Trade Show Magician Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2016
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A trade show magician is an entertainer who specializes in working with exhibitors at trade shows to attract attention from potential customers. Live entertainment at a stall can be a significant draw, especially if the magician is handing out prizes and other incentives to stop at the stall, such as discount cards for the company's wares. Trade show magicians typically receive training in stage magic and marketing so they can apply their training to trade show settings.

When a company contracts with a trade show magician, she works on developing a routine that will mesh well with the company's products, values, and message. She may meet with company representatives to talk about how to integrate the company's products into demonstrations; for example, the trade show magician might use the company's products in magic tricks, often in a way designed to demonstrate reliability, durability, and other traits.

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Part of the work also includes developing an appropriate patter to draw in bystanders, while also considering how the company does business. Trade show magicians usually avoid controversial tricks or language in their presentations to create a positive image for the company. If a company is known for its family values and strict moral code, for example, a trade show magician with a scantily clad assistant or lewd jokes would not go over well. Integrating geek jokes into the routine for a software company, on the other hand, would be a good way to connect with customers and encourage them to think of the company in a positive way.

Trade show magicians can work varying hours, depending on the trade show and the need. At peak hours, the company usually wants as much action as possible around the stall to pull in sales, while during slow periods, it may give entertainers time off. Others may wander the floor in the vicinity of the stall with the goal of pulling people in; the magician might do card tricks with company-branded cards, for example, presenting bystanders with coupons or other freebies that encourage them to locate the company's stall and get more information or products.

This type of work requires substantial traveling to access trade shows, along with a very flexible routine. The more tricks a trade show magician knows, the better he will be at customizing a routine for clients. Marketing skills along with an excellent sense of audience and timing are also important. While magicians in other fields often have these skills because magicians need showmanship to flourish, trade shows can be very different from stages or events where the audience is highly attentive and ready to focus on a routine, and trade show magicians need agility and flexibility during the routine as well as in the planning stages.

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